The Protea Hotel Kuramo Waters is located at the very southern end of Lagos; the property is right at the water’s edge. But don’t expect a beach here; there’s high fences everywhere and decrepit houses and roads leading up to the property.
The hotel is made up of 8 individual villas, each with a number of apartments or rooms. In-between is the parking lot.
Until a few weeks ago, this property charged $280 per night for the entry level room and it still has those rates on Marriott.com. The local rate in Naira is just 40,000, which is now only about $140. I had used 15,000 Marriott Rewards points for a two-night stay.
Check-in was friendly, but utterly confused. The check-in agent had not heard of Marriott Rewards Gold status (yet Protea has been part of Marriott Rewards for almost two years now). No benefits were available to Golds and no upgrade was offered.
I initially got a room on the first floor which was very motel-like, with no natural light and a view against a wall a few feet away. I requested a different room and there was one in the first villa on the second floor. While the windows and curtains seemed extra-stained, it was OK.
The buildings have no central air conditioning, so the room was sweltering in the Lagos sun. The AC worked loudly and not very efficiently, which would become a major issue at night.
Instead of hotel WiFi, the front desk gives you a handwritten cut-out with 10 different WiFi IDs, which all have different passwords! Even worse, it didn’t show up on my phone and on my computer the signal was so bad I could barely use the internet. The WiFi is totally wrong here, which Marriott should check right away!
OK, no WiFi, so let’s take a shower and freshen up . The shower was so small that I could not turn, and, while tall, I consider myself really skinny. Worse still, the sink would not drain; it easily took 10 minutes to empty.
So I walked to the pool area which was really nice with an ocean breeze; too bad about the cargo containers that stood in the way of a view! I later asked about them and was told that they are hotel property.
I wanted to check out the gym and could not find it. I inquired at the front desk and someone unlocked it for me (!) – there is no keycard access. However, the gym and the rusty workout machines stemmed from the 1970s, so I’m not sure anyone had worked out there for a generation!
At night I was bitten by mosquitoes – not a big deal, but at a $280 hotel, it’s not acceptable, especially if it’s in a major malaria zone.
The AC was on automatic and at 64 degrees; it ran on full fan and yet barely made a dent. It was loud and hot until it finally cooled down.
You can imagine that I wasn’t in the perfect mood the next morning and thought breakfast would be nice. There were omelets and a few other things I’d rather not look at, as it all looked just terrible and the smell was even worse.
I also wasn’t sure about security at this property. The security guards at the gate barely did any checking. There were no metal detectors and the fence, while high, seemed easy to climb. No electric fences here. There were two guys with automatic weapons hanging out on a grassy patch between the villas; I was just hoping they would not be asleep at the wrong moment.
I decided to check-out right away and leave the place behind. I politely asked to get my second night refunded. The front desk said that would not be an option and that the GM would talk to me. Indeed he did after I called, but all he offered was a ‘one-room upgrade’ on my next stay. I’m not interested in ever staying there again!
So if you are in Lagos, stay at one of the great hotels like the InterContinental or the Radisson and don’t even think about booking the Protea Hotel Kuramo Waters. Marriott, please send someone who enforces brand standards and get this property up to speed from its dim life.
I want my money (points) back!
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About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]
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